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Ginkgo Village »

Trauma and Transformation in Rural China

Authored by: Tamara Jacka
Publication date: 2024
Ginkgo Village provides an original and powerfully intimate bottom-up perspective on China’s recent tumultuous history. Drawing on ethnographic and life-history research, the book takes readers deep into a village in a mountainous region of central-eastern China known as Eyuwan. In the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, villagers in this region experienced terrible trauma and far-reaching socio‑economic and political change. In the civil war (1927–1949), they were slaughtered in fighting between Nationalist and Communist forces. During the Great Leap Forward (1958–1961), they suffered appalling famine. Since the 1990s, mass labour outmigration has lifted local villagers out of poverty and fuelled major transformations in their circumstances and practices, social and family relationships, and values and aspirations. At the heart of this book are eight tales that recreate Ginkgo Village life and the interactions between villagers and the researchers who visit them. These tales use storytelling to engender an empathetic understanding of Ginkgo Villagers’ often traumatic life-experiences; to present concrete details about transformations in everyday village life in an engaging manner; and to explore the challenges and rewards of fieldwork research that attempts empathetic understanding across cultures.

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Forty Years in the South Seas »

Archaeological Perspectives on the Human History of Papua New Guinea and the Western Pacific Region

Publication date: 2024
“This edited volume of invited chapters honours the four decades of fundamental research by archaeologist Glenn Summerhayes into the human prehistory of the islands of the western Pacific, especially New Guinea and its offshore islands. This area helped to shape and direct many ancient dispersal events associated with Homo sapiens, initially from Africa more than 50,000 years ago, through the lower latitudes of Asia, into Australia, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and possibly the Solomon Islands. Around 3000 years ago, coastal regions of northern and eastern New Guinea, and the islands of Melanesia beyond, played a major role in the Oceanic migrations of Austronesian-speaking peoples from southern China and Southeast Asia, migrations that have recently attained new levels of genetic complexity through the analysis of ancient DNA from human remains. For the first time, humans of both Southeast Asian and New Guinea/Bismarck genetic origin reached the islands of Remote Oceania, beyond the Solomons. Many of the chapters in this book deal with archaeological aspects of this Austronesian maritime expansion (which never seriously impacted the populations of the New Guinea Highlands), especially as revealed through the analysis of Lapita pottery and associated artefacts. Other chapters offer archaeological perspectives on trade and exchange, and on related topics that extend into the ethnographic era. The research of Glenn Summerhayes stands centrally amongst all these offerings, ranging from the discovery of some of the oldest traces of Pleistocene human settlement in Papua New Guinea to documentation of the remarkable phenomenon of Lapita expansion through Melanesia into western Polynesia around 3000 years ago. This volume is a fitting celebration of a remarkable career in western Pacific archaeology and population history.” ­— Emeritus Professor Peter Bellwood, The Australian National University

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Salish Archipelago »

Environment and Society in the Islands Within and Adjacent to the Salish Sea

Edited by: Moshe Rapaport
Publication date: 2024
The Salish Archipelago includes more than 400 islands in the Salish Sea, an amalgamation of Canada’s Georgia Strait, the US’s Puget Sound, and the shared Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Salish Sea and Islands are named for the Coast Salish Indigenous Peoples whose homelands extend across the region. Holiday homes and services have in many places displaced pristine ecosystems, Indigenous communities, and historic farms. Will age-old island environments and communities withstand the forces of commodity-driven economies? This new, major scholarly undertaking provides the geographical and historical background for exploring such questions. Salish Archipelago features sections on environment, history, society, and management, accompanied by numerous maps and other illustrations. This diverse collection offers an overview of an embattled, but resilient, region, providing knowledge and perspectives of interest to residents, educators, and policy makers.

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The Chinese in Papua New Guinea »

Past, Present and Future

Publication date: 2024
Papua New Guinean, Chinese and Australian people have long been entangled in the creation of complex histories and political debates concerning the similarities and differences of each group. These debates are fundamental to understandings of how a sense of national unity in Papua New Guinea is formed, as well as within analyses of the wider world of strategic power dynamics and influence. The Chinese in Papua New Guinea offers a comprehensive and nuanced examination of the Chinese in Papua New Guinea. Chinese, Papua New Guinean and Australian interactions are analysed in the context of ongoing shifts in colonial power, increased regional engagement with China, and current political instabilities across the Indo-Pacific region. The many ways the Chinese have been defined as actors in PNG’s history and politics are analysed against the backdrop of a rapidly changing global order. The complexity of Chinese experiences within Papua New Guinea is given expression, here, with chapters that stress political and historical heterogeneity, the importance of language for understanding Chinese social relations, and that articulate rich personal experiences of race relations.

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Dick Watkins »

Reshaping Art and Life

Authored by: Mary Eagle
Publication date: 2024
Dick Watkins belongs to the generation of artists whose careers were launched at the high-flying end of American-based Abstraction. Almost immediately he faced up to the abrupt end of the Modern era. Culture was no longer to be framed by ‘progress’. In 1970, taking stock of the situation, he announced that he was a copyist, there being no such thing as a new creation in art, shaped as it was by visual languages. Nor did he intend to limit his curiosity about the relation of art to life by restricting himself to a ‘personal’ style. There followed a long and passionately adventurous exploration into many subjects and styles, during which Watkins was often the first to signal changes taking place in Western culture. The result is that for half a century he has been a major, if controversial figure in Australian art.

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China’s New Era »

Edited by: Annie Luman Ren, Ben Hillman
Publication date: 2024
According to Communist Party discourse, China’s ‘New Era’ began when Xi Jinping was anointed Party boss in 2012. The shape of this New Era became eminently clear in 2023 when Xi commenced his third five-year term as General Secretary of the Party, a fortification of one-man authoritarian rule unprecedented in post-Mao China. Under Xi, the Party has expanded its influence over government, the economy and society. The Party-State is now more Party than State. The year 2023 saw other ‘new eras’ for China as well. Despite initial optimism sparked by the end of COVID-19 restrictions in late 2022, the Chinese economy in 2023 was buffeted by continuing property sector woes, record unemployment, and an unfolding local government debt crisis. Globally, China adopted a series of new and ambitious diplomatic initiatives to woo the Global South and amplify its voice on the world stage. The China Story Yearbook 2023: China’s New Era provides informed perspectives on these and other important stories that will resonate for years to come.

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International Review of Environmental History: Volume 9, Issue 2, 2023 »

Edited by: James Beattie
Publication date: February 2024
The histories and legacies of extraction and toxicity are innumerable. Globally, these forces have both facilitated and been a by-product of industrial growth, technological advancement and nation-building for centuries, but so too have they enabled and exacerbated environmental degradation, structural inequality, and the continued colonisation of lands and peoples. In addressing the histories and legacies of extraction and toxicity, this special issue of the International Review of Environmental History draws attention to several of the most pressing themes taken up by historians dealing with these processes. The papers within explore how extraction and toxicity have been woven into the colonial fabric of various countries, the ways that the exploitation and contamination of specific landscapes have come to define the history of such places and spaces, the response of various groups to these processes, and the extent to which long-term environmental consequences wrought by extractive practices and their toxic by-products are—in many cases—yet to be revealed. The articles in this special issue span Australia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Southern Ocean, consider the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and draw on a range of disciplinary methods and perspectives. What binds them together is a deep engagement with the significant legacies of extraction and toxicity that endure into the present and inform contemporary environmental debates.

Australian Journal of Biography and History: No. 8, 2024 »

Publication date: February 2024
The Australian Journal of Biography and History No 8 (2024) applies biographical methodologies to enliven themes and episodes in Australian history. Studying John Wear Burton, the head of the Commonwealth department of external affairs between 1947 and 1950, Adam Hughes Henry explores some of the ways in which anti-communism in 1950s Australia served to limit critical thinking on the country’s foreign policy. Gary Osmond and Jan Richardson write on the Black sports promoter and entrepreneur Jack Dowridge, who lived and largely thrived in Brisbane between the mid-1870s until his death in 1922. Phillip Deery and Julie Kimber examine the often-overlooked figure of Evdokia Petrov, considering the ‘disjuncture between historical imagination and the archival record.’ In Richard Fotheringham’s article on the variety entertainer and singer Jenny Howard, aka Daisy Blowes, Howard emerges as a character in her own play. Martin Thomas relates in his article ‘Patrick White and the Path to Sarsaparilla’ how the novelist Patrick White demanded a ‘final pound of flesh from his biographer’ by making David Marr ‘sit with him at the dining table while he read it in front of him from beginning to end.’ The result was a biography of ‘complete artistic freedom’, ‘unauthorised’ certainly, but ‘aided and abetted by its subject.’ Patricia Clarke describes the experience of the journalist Iris Dexter, née Norton (1907–1974), in seeking, but until 1950 failing to obtain, a divorce from an abusive husband, and the devastating impact the episode had on her life. Two further articles in this number utilise collective biographical methodologies to illuminate historical episodes which have become emblematic in Australian history: Nichola Garvey relates the story of the ‘death ship’ Neptune, which arrived in New South Wales in 1790 as part of the infamous second fleet; and Peter Woodley examines the 1891 Queensland bush workers’ strike. This affair has generally been portrayed as a ‘war’ between capital and labour, but as Woodley argues, the strike also showed the ‘often intense and fraught intersections of individuals’ lives’, many of which would never have come to light were it not for the strike and its judicial consequences.

Quaternary Palaeontology and Archaeology of Sumatra »

Publication date: 2024
“The Indonesian island of Sumatra is part of a chain of islands making up Sunda and the Malay Archipelago. Sumatra is one of the largest islands in the world, housing unique and globally important tropical rainforests, a diverse array of rare plants and magnificent animals, and a population of 60 million who speak a range of Austronesian languages. As beautifully exemplified in this volume, Sumatra is a place which preserves a distinct and long-term human history, studies of which began in earnest with Eugene Dubois’s explorations in the 1880s to find our ancestral ‘missing link’. Archaeological investigation of megaliths and historic empires carry on to this day. A range of topics are explored here, including palaeontological study of fossil mammals and their environments, the routes that Homo erectus took during their wanderings across Indonesia, and the growth and development of societies and empires in more recent periods. This exemplary volume presents a revised view of the history of palaeontological and archaeological research as well as new ground-breaking field research, laying the foundation for future research on the biological and cultural evolution of one of the most majestic islands of the world.” ­— Professor Michael Petraglia, Director of the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, Griffith University

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Dreaming Ecology »

Nomadics and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Victoria River, Northern Australia

Edited by: Darrell Lewis, Margaret Jolly
Authored by: Deborah Bird Rose
Publication date: 2024
In the author’s own words, Dreaming Ecology ‘explores a holistic understanding of the interconnections of people, country, kinship, creation and the living world within a context of mobility. Implicitly it asks how people lived so sustainably for so long’. It offers a telling critique of the loss of Indigenous life, human and non-human, in the wake of white settler colonialism and this becoming ‘cattle country’. It offers a fresh perspective on nomadics grounded in ‘footwalk epistemology’ and ‘an ethics of return sustained across different species, events, practices and scales’ ‘This is the final and most substantial of Debbie’s love letters to the Aboriginal people of the Victoria River Downs. I say this because there is a such a sense of reverence, wonder and respect throughout the book. The introduction of concepts of double-death, footwalk epistemology, wild country, … are not only organising ideas but characterisations arising from what Debbie hears, sees and feels of herself and Aboriginal others … I think of it in terms of love, if love is care, reciprocal respect, deep connectivity and a strong desire to never make less of the people she chose to commit herself to.’ —Richard Davis ‘This book was a pleasure to read, filled with careful description of people, places, and various plants and animals, and insightful analysis of the patterns and commitments that hold them together in the world.’ —Thom van Dooren

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